Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adoption conversation at the library

This is Anya Rashi in her Easter outfit.

Anya Rashi and I found a good picture book for adopted children at the library this morning. It's called Star of the Week by Darlene Friedman. If you have pre-schoolers or kindergarteners, you've probably experienced "Star of the Week" -- a chance for children to have a special week at school. Typically, they bring in a poster about their family, tell the class about themselves, and share a treat.

Occasions like this can be complicated for a child who is adopted (as we learned in our pre-adoption classes!), and the author does a great job helping kids navigate the emotional terrain. While celebrating her adoption story, the main character also asks questions about her birthparents and their circumstances. It is a wonderful first look at issues that Anya Rashi isn't quite ready for . . . but will be someday.

While I was talking about the book with Anya Rashi, and telling her that the girl in the story was born in another country (China), a voice behind us said, "I was born in Ireland." A man in his early 30s smiled down at Anya Rashi and asked where she was born.

He told us that he was adopted when he was 7 years old, and still has dual citizenship. He's now married and has three daughters, ages 8, 4, and 1. When I asked him if he could remember much about his earlier years, his eyes clouded over and he said, "I can, but I don't like to." I quickly assured him that I didn't mean to pry, and that it was his story to share or not.

He talked a little more with Anya Rashi about how lots of people are born in one country, then fly in airplanes to come home with their mommies and daddies to another country. I thanked him profusely for joining our conversation. He was so sweet, and told Anya Rashi, "You sure have a great mommy."

This conversation was so restorative -- especially this week, with the news of Artyem, the Russian boy who was abandoned by his adoptive mother. The parallels were striking -- this man was also an older child when he was adopted, and had seemingly been in some harmful, sad circumstances. I wonder if he was a "difficult" boy when he arrived home too, due to the wounds he'd incurred before he was adopted.

The devotion, loving care, and permanence of adoptive parents is so vital to kids who've learned not to trust adults to meet their needs. My heart aches that Arytem did not have parents who were able to commit to helping him, no matter what. And my heart also aches that the media are sharing this story so widely, when the vast majority of adoptions are success stories of loving parents and beloved children.

I never even asked the Library Guy his name -- but I'm so happy that he is living proof of how wonderful adoption is. And I'm grateful that he took time to share his story with Anya Rashi and me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

April snow showers bring . . .

. . . confusion about global warming. Aaron was asking why we woke up to SIX inches of snow yesterday morning, if the earth is getting warmer! We were all oddly excited about it, though -- we've had a few warmer weeks, so the snow felt like a novelty even after a long winter. After school, we made the last snowman of the winter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good news

Tonight we had some dear friends over to decorate Easter cookies. Yum! You should see the aftermath -- a hefty collection of cookie decorations on my kitchen floor . . .

This week brings good news in many forms. As some of you know, we've been #7 on the waiting list for referrals (that's adoption lingo for being matched with a child) for several months. The reason was that our orphanage was waiting for a particular license to be renewed by a national adoption authority. They'd submitted the proper paperwork on time, but were not getting any answer.

Earlier this week, we received an e-mail from our adoption agency that said a temporary 6-month license will be issued so that children can continue to be matched with families while they wait for the "permanent" renewal. That's great news for everyone who is waiting! Hopefully, several children's paperwork has been completed, and so several families waiting ahead of us will find out who their new sons or daughters are.

In general, the wait had felt easier this time -- being busy with three kids has made it go by a little more quickly, I think. But with no news since the beginning of the year, I did feel like a little hopelessness was creeping in. As much as we trust that God has a particular little girl chosen for us, and as much as we know that His timing is best, we were wondering, "how long?" What a breath of fresh air and renewal to hear that things will begin moving again!

More good news . . . yesterday, my brother Matt walked away from what could've been a serious accident on his motorcycle. He was hit by a minivan, but thanks to wearing a helmet and leather jacket, he is okay. He has some bumps and bruises, and spent the afternoon and evening at our house so we could watch for signs of a concussion. I was feeling so grateful yesterday that our day didn't end up with him in the hospital . . . God was certainly watching over him.

The other Good News, of course, is that we're celebrating Easter tomorrow. This verse undoes me every time, because it taught me how to forgive after I became a Christian at age 21:
"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 Even before I was sorry for or even aware of my sin, Jesus still chose to die in my place so I could experience heaven someday. I can't believe someone, much less God himself, would do that for me.

Happy Easter!